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Football Daily is the first to hold its hands up when we get things wrong, and this week our predictions have been signally less than stellar. So far we’ve put forward the theory that Jürgen Klopp will never smile again, suggested that Wolverhampton Wanderers were looking good for a first FA Cup since 1960, and tipped Manchester United for the title. That whopping three for zero was confirmed late on Wednesday night when Michael Olise whistled an astonishing free-kick past David de Gea’s lugs before pointedly not bothering to celebrate, in the manner of a player who had just denied his previous club a couple of precious points and wanted to showcase some maximum respect. You can bet your last penny Wilfried Zaha won’t hold back like that if he ever scores a last-minute zinger against Reading.
Olise’s strike meant Erik ten Hag and Bruno Fernandes both left Selhurst Park with a face on, and put a serious dent in United’s title ambitions. That and Casemiro’s attempt to send Zaha’s kneecap spinning around like a catherine wheel, the orange card he received enough to keep the influential wrecker out of the upcoming Arsenal defeat (we’ve changed our minds). These sort of things are sickening under any circumstances, but especially so when people had only seriously started talking about United’s title chances a mere four days previously. Ah well, championship dreams that last just over half a week are better than no championship dreams at all, and now at least United can get back to the day job of rebuilding, process implementation, flinging large sums of money around to see what sticks, etc.
The latest shiny new thing on United’s shopping list is Gonçalo Ramos. It would require a bid of at least £105m to contractually jemmy the 21-year-old striker out of Benfica, but given United have just been named as the fourth richest club in the world by Deloitte, and they’re rumoured to be soon taken over by Monaco tax exile and former Chelsea season-ticket holder Sir Jim ‘I’m Manchester Through and Through, Me’ Ratcliffe, that figure seems like chump change. United are also preparing a new deal for Alejandro Garnacho, with Real Madrid sniffing around, as is their wont, and for some reason they’re determined to hold on to West Ham target Harry Maguire at all costs, of which there will certainly be some if he ever gets back into the starting XI again. Interesting times at Old Trafford, then, just not in terms of the title. Though given our recent record, we wouldn’t blame you if you now decide to lump on.
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“We also cheated against Ghana so it’s time to stop this useless polemic about my friend Eto’o. Let’s stop whining and move on. Contrary to what is said, and I do not want to go into details, we accused the Caf and Fecafoot. Against Ghana, I say it and repeat it, we had positive cases of Covid but we still managed to get them to play” – a speech at his wedding ceremony – his wedding ceremony – in which Comoros FA president Said All Said Athouman attempts to show solidarity with guest and Cameroon FA counterpart Samuel Eto’o by claiming the team played at last year’s Africa Cup of Nations despite a number of players having Covid. Here’s the full story.
Since clubs being in crisis is the favo(u)rite subject of Football Daily, you might want to look over the pond where all five official supporters groups of the LA Galaxy have come together to boycott all games until club president Chris Klein is shown a certain door marked with specific verbiage. We may even march from a tailgate we were already going to, to a match we had no intention of boycotting, in the grand tradition of Manchester United, Everton et al” – Tom Dowler.
Reading about Richard Brind’s hard week (yesterday’s Football Daily letters), demanding diagrams to go with your work, his plea has not gone unnoticed. Watching football on the TV, I see many managers resort to traditional ways (biros, scraps of paper, etc) in noting something or other, hoping to impart half-time flannel to thwart a defeat. Thus, I have begun an art project encapsulating their scribbled jottings. Titled ‘Managers’ Notebooks’ (not digital since that would be a Klopp-out), it is a collection of drawings and prints that attempt to represent the turmoils of watching self-inflicted escapism/optimism. I rely on the hopeless shrug of a Moyes or a Lampard, the panicky Conte Montegrappa or a Rodgers slap and others. These, intertwined with odd numbers, like Neto 13 and diagrammatic representations of a dis-United 5’s elusive defensive runs, should end up as a Picasso-like exploration of the game. Crossings-out will be included. Copies can be ordered in advance but will be delivered later or not at all” – Tim Hall.
The photo of Maximiliano Spinazze’s cornfield showing Lionel Messi’s face (yesterday’s Football Daily email edition) is brilliant and it got me thinking. Couldn’t we have images of our favourites sown into every pitch in the Premier League? Then, when sent off for violent conduct, the perfectly reasonable response of ‘I decked him because he was getting up my nose’ would have a wider and more accurate meaning” – Steve Anniss.
Send your letters to email@example.com. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Tom Dowler.
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